EMSB Partners with Special Olympics For Field Day
McGill University’s Tomlinson Fieldhouse was transformed into a multi-sport playground as the English Montreal School Board partnered with Special Olympics to present a field day for 85 students with intellectual disabilities recently.
“This is the first time we’ve held this event and I think everyone involved is enjoying the experience,” said Sarah Lynch, a special education consultant with the EMSB. “We spent two weeks planning this day and everything is running smoothly.”
“I heard one young student say this was the best day of his life and that was before the activities began,” noted Kelly Ladora, who teaches dance at Pierre de Coubertin Elementary School in St. Leonard.
Studies have shown that physical exercise can aid in the cognitive development of students with intellectual disabilities.
“We work with autistic students and you can see how exercise helps develop their gross motor skills and their confidence,” said Michelle van Houtte, a physical education teacher at Pierre de Coubertin.
The students from eight EMSB schools participated in a variety of activities adapted to their needs. There was bowling, curling, running, obstacle courses and throwing balls through targets.
Physical education teachers from the EMSB served as coaches and organizers and were assisted by volunteers and 35 students from the sports leadership program Lester B. Pearson High School.
Eunice Kennedy Shriver was inspired by her sister Rosemary when she founded Special Olympics in 1968. Rosemary Kennedy was institutionalized after a lobotomy and her sister created Special Olympics to foster greater understanding of intellectual disabilities. It is the world's largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and provides year-round training and activities to 5 million participants in 172 countries.
We offer activities for students at the elementary level righty through provincial, national and international competition,” said Madeleine Sinclair, the youth program coordinator for Special Olympics Quebec. “We’re also concerned with health issues and offer dental and auditory assessments.”
About the English Montreal School Board
With a youth and adult sector population of more than 35,000 students, the English Montreal School Board (EMSB) is the largest English public school board in Quebec. Established on July 1, 1998, when the province created new boards along linguistic lines, the EMSB network consists of 73 schools and centres. For more details, visit the EMSB website at www.emsb.qc.ca.